Course Title: Usability Engineering

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Usability Engineering

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

COSC1182

City Campus

Postgraduate

140H Computer Science & Information Technology

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015

COSC1182

City Campus

Postgraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017

COSC1183

City Campus

Undergraduate

140H Computer Science & Information Technology

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015

COSC1183

City Campus

Undergraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr. Sandra Uitdenbogerd

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2246

Course Coordinator Email: alexandra.uitdenbogerd@rmit.edu.au


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Practical experience with software system analysis and design, equivalent to ISYS1117 Software Engineering Fundamentals

Some programming experience equivalent to one semester of programming studies. COSC2531 Programming Fundamentals (or equivalent) will satisfy these requirements.

You may enrol in this course only if it is explicitly listed in your enrolment program summary.

Note it is a condition of enrolment at RMIT that you accept responsibility for ensuring that you have completed the prerequisite/s and agree to concurrently enrol in co-requisite courses before enrolling in a course.

For your information the RMIT Course Requisites policy can be found at Course requisites – 7.29.1.6: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=twx09y07zi1c


Course Description

Usability is the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use (ISO 9241-11 1998). Usability engineering is a set of behavioural research methods and techniques that can be applied at every stage of the software development lifecycle, to improve the usability of the developed product by conducting usability studies that analyse users’ needs or evaluate the product’s usability.

This course introduces you to concepts, methods and techniques that you can apply to design and conduct usability studies, building on your practical experience with software system analysis and design, and with writing and testing code. You will learn the theory and practice of various approaches, methods and techniques, and apply these to acquire practical experience in conducting usability studies for interactive systems. Tutorial activities provide the skills you need to complete the major assignment, where you design a usability test of an interactive system, recruit suitable participants, conduct the test, and analyse and report on your findings.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes:

  • Enabling Knowledge:

You will gain skills as you apply knowledge with creativity and initiative to new situations. In doing so, you will: demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge that includes recent developments in computer science and information technology.

  • Critical Analysis:

You will learn to accurately and objectively examine, and critically investigate computer science and information technology (IT) concepts, evidence, theories or situations, in particular to:

-- analyse and model complex requirements and constraints for the purpose of designing and implementing software artefacts and IT systems

-- evaluate and compare designs of software artefacts and IT systems on the basis of organisational and user requirements.

  • Problem Solving:

Your capability to analyse complex problems and synthesise suitable solutions will be extended as you learn to: design and implement software solutions that accommodate specified requirements and constraints, based on analysis or modelling or requirements specification.

  • Communication:

You will learn to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences through a range of modes and media, in particular to: interpret abstract theoretical propositions, choose methodologies, justify conclusions and defend professional decisions to both IT and non-IT personnel via technical reports of professional standard and technical presentations.


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  • compare and contrast the ‘usability engineering life cycle’ to other software engineering methodologies
  • determine the applicability of usability heuristics, guidelines and standards for given system development problems
  • apply usability heuristics and guidelines to evaluate the usability of a specified interactive system
  • justify the theory and practice of usability evaluation approaches, methods and techniques
  • analyse and model requirements and constraints for the purpose of designing and implementing usability test plans
  • design and implement a usability test plan, based on modelling or requirements specification
  • explain and justify usability concepts, relevant alternatives and decision recommendations to IT specialists, via technical reports of professional standard
  • compare and evaluate strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, methods and techniques for evaluating usability
  • choose appropriate approaches, methods and techniques to evaluate the usability of a specified interactive system
  • devise, perform and analyse experiments to evaluate the usability of a specified interactive system
  • prepare questionnaires to recruit and gather information from participants for a usability test, and interact with the participants, in a professional manner, to collect the required data
  • write a report, aimed at managers and developers, using an industry-standard template, to present the background, methodologies chosen, design, and results of the usability evaluation of a specific interactive system and justify conclusions.


Overview of Learning Activities

The core material of the course will be presented in a series of lectures, where content will be described and illustrated with demonstrations and examples, and discussion of concepts and relevant experiences is encouraged. In tutorials and during assignment work, you will plan, design and carry out usability tests, and analyse and report the results of usability tests. Tutorials also provide the opportunity to discuss the concepts with your peers and tutors.

Your private study, working through course materials and suggested wider reading will help you gain practice at solving conceptual and technical problems.


Overview of Learning Resources

You will make extensive use of computer laboratories and relevant software provided by the School. You will be able to access course information and learning materials through myRMIT and may be provided with copies of additional materials in class or via email. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and freely accessible Internet sites will be provided.

Use the RMIT Campus Store textbook list search page to find any recommended textbook(s): http://www.campusstore.rmit.edu.au/collections/books/computer-science-it


Overview of Assessment

The assessment for this course comprises practical assignment work and a final exam.

The practical assignment work involves planning, designing and carrying out usability tests, and analysing and reporting the results of usability tests. For standard assessment details, including deadlines, weightings and requirements relating to Computer Science and IT courses see: http://www.rmit.edu.au/compsci/cgi